Genuine if totally opaque multiculturalism

Haq-Insaf's Eating House
Haq-Insaf’s Eating House

Haq-Insaf’s Eating House is a good place to get Indian food at West Coast. This is the back wall of the inside of the eating space in their shophouse unit.

Three things about it struck me.

  1. It’s really festive. You can’t visit this place and not feel cheerful. The whole place is always decorated for some reason or other.
  2. Those squiggles are all words, but I can’t read any of them. Wait, no, actually, I know two of the Chinese characters (‘spring’ and ‘fortune’). Yay.
  3. Hang on, why is there Chinese and Arabic? Oh, right. Because this is Singapore. Everyone celebrates Chinese New Year here. You don’t have to be Chinese, or East Asian, or Asian.

So yeah. This is multiculturalism at its best… and most opaque.

Sakura Cuisine Halal Thai Chinese Restaurant

This place is on the the top floor of Far East Plaza right across from our favorite Japanese restaurant, Nanbantei.

The name makes me laugh because it sends so many signals at once.

  • sakura – Japanese
  • cuisine – French
  • halal – Muslim
  • Thai – Southeast Asian
  • Chinese – East Asian

I half expect to see them put up a sign that says, “We also serve roti prata, tacos, hamburgers and pizza!”

Fruit that looks like other objects

We bought this collection of objects (tray and wooden fruit) on our trip to Bali and Lombok, Indonesia.

It occurred to me that each fruit looks like some other object.

The one on the left, which would look like a star in cross-section, is a starfruit. It’s the most familiar of this batch to a North American.

The one that looks like a grenade is a durian. Those are famous for being stinky and prickly.

The scaly fig is a snake fruit (aka Salak). I ate one off a tree while hiking through the woods. It was sticky.

The one at the top is, I think, a rose apple (water apple), and looks like a nose in cross section. This one, however, looks very pear-like and has what look like leaves or a flower at the bottom, which is not typical in my experience. It might also be a pomegranate (delima); that would explain the structure at the bottom but not the pear shape.

The one that looks like a soccer ball is… actually I don’t know. Maybe a sugar apple (custard apple, srikaya)?

We figure we probably overpaid because the guy running the shop gave us the pear-looking-thing for free. I think he also wrote a lower selling price on the receipt and pocketed the difference.

Nevertheless, we love these strange wooden objects. They’re well made, and the detail on the snake fruit, in particular, is amazing.

Absolutely. No. Durians.

Singapore has a reputation for strict laws that stipulate fines for mildly annoying misdeeds. It’s also known as a place where people enjoy durians, which are a particularly stinky kind of fruit with spiky skin.

What cracks me up every time I see a sign like this one (on the wall of the Chinatown MRT station) is that when you look at it, you naturally expect the punishment for the offense on the bottom right to be the worst, and… there’s nothing there!

Not listing any penalty on the sign leaves the imagination free to invent something maximally terrible. Like… execution.

What exactly do they do to you if you bring a durian on the MRT?

Better never find out.